I’d like to broadcast my radio station on DAB, how much does it cost?

DAB Digital Radio is broadcast either nationally, or locally. National details are below.

Local DAB is broadcast in two ways:

  1. Commercial multiplexes
  2. Small-scale multiplexes

Commercial multiplexes have been around a number of years, there is generally one multiplex per County/City (though in London there are three as well as the Surrey multiplex which overlaps into London).

Commercial multiplexes are large-scale operations that the BBC and commercial radio use to broadcast their stations, but usually have room for new entrants. The costs vary area to area, but generally range from £2,500 to £9,000 a month.

Commercial multiplexes are run by different companies in different areas. The operators are: Arqiva, Bauer Digital Radio, Switchdigital and MuxCo. Check their websites to see which multiplex area is operated by which company.

Small-scale multiplexes are new multiplexes being advertised by Ofcom. There are currently 10 trial multiplexes on the air. These will stay on air whilst Ofcom get round to licensing these areas.

Ofcom have identified hundreds of areas that may have a small-scale licence, and they will advertise these in the waves over the coming years. It is important to recognise that it is the licence for the multiplex being advertised – the whole platform – rather than space for stations.

When multiplexes are awarded you would then contact the operator to negotiate carriage for your station.

Small-scale multiplexes will cover less than 40% of the population than the traditional local commercial multiplex. They will also be at a much lower power, so signal strength is reduced. Small-scale coverage is more akin to community radio or the old SALLIE FM licences than it is for the county-wide commercial multiplexes.

Cost to be on small-scale vary, but seem to be in the region of £300 to £1,000 per month. However remember there are only 10 small scale multiplexes now (Nov 2020), this may rise to 40 by November 2021.

I’d like to broadcast my radio station nationwide on DAB Digital Radio, how much does it cost?

There are two national DAB multiplexes (Digital One and Sound digital), they’re both managed by Arqiva. You can contact them here: [email protected].

Arqiva are the best people to give you a quote. Our understanding is that there are a number of variables but generally the pricing is between £350k and £1m a year.

What technology do I need to get on DAB?

Any technology is likely to be included in the contract you sign with a multiplex operator. They will install a small rack and a communication line in your studio. Some multiplexes may take an online internet feed.

What licence do I need to go on DAB?

You will need a DSP licence from Ofcom – these are no difficult to get, but Ofcom will not issue one unless you have an agreement in principal with a multiplex operator.

If you plan to play music, you’ll need to agree a licence from both PRS/MCPS and PPL.

What is the process to get on DAB?

  • Talk to a multiplex operator
  • Check they have space
  • Get a written offer of the carriage fee price and draft contract
  • Agree the contract
  • Pay a deposit (usually three months worth of carriage fees)
  • Agree a launch date with the multiplex operator
  • Apply for a DSP licence from Ofcom
  • Arrange for the installation of any necessary equipment
  • Launch

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